Self Compassion

I’m doing a 7 day series on my Calm app called “soothing pain”. Because my back had been bothering me I decided to see what this was all about and wanted to see if by doing meditation I might be able to get relief and learn some tools for better managing my pain in the future. Today’s session was on compassion and how to learn some ways of giving ourselves compassion to help with dealing with all sorts of trauma, emotional or otherwise.

One of the techniques is trying to talk to yourself as if you were a younger version of yourself. This is a very common technique and one I’ve learned through This Naked Mind community. It’s suggested to help with negative talk to ourselves and the idea of “you wouldn’t say those horrible things to a young child” in order for you to become more compassionate with yourself.

Most of the time, it is suggested that you go back to around 5 or 6 years of age. At the time in your life when you are so young and innocent, full of hope and wonder, like a clean slate that whatever you tell that younger version, they are going to believe and move forward into their future without any doubt or worries. But every time I attempt this exercise, I invariably go to when I was 12-13 years old.

As I wrote about earlier, this time in my life was very hard on me as it was at the time when we moved from Mineral to Red Bluff where I was the new kid in town and trying hard to fit in and be liked. I was a painfully shy 12 year old in a junior high school that had class room sizes of 30-40 kids each. This was completely foreign to me, coming from Mineral where I was in a 2 room school house of probably 30 kids total, ages K-8th grade!

As I was going through this 13 minute lesson this morning, I practiced going back to the younger version of myself. Again, I tried to go back to the 5-6 year old me, but my thought was “nah, she’s good! She’s got it going on! So brave and innocent and bright eyed!” I don’t feel the need to go back to that young girl. But my mind went immediately to the 12 year old me. Wanting to show compassion to her and let her know she is a survivor. That these times, although hard, will help her develop into the amazing, strong woman she is today. That yes, times will always be tough, but you will come through it all and shine on the other side.

But then it hit me, at 13 was when I injured my back! As I’m sitting here in meditation, working on being compassionate with myself and my pain, the pain that started from my injury at 13 years of age, THAT’S the younger version of myself that needs the most compassion! One of the suggested mantras was to repeat “I care about this pain”, which definitely struck a cord with me. Not only was this younger version of myself dealing with the emotional pain of moving and trying to fit in socially, she was then struck down with physical pain in the middle of her 8th grade year. There was so much loss for me at that time, the move, losing friends, trying to fit in and getting rejected, having to quit ballet after my back injury. I was carrying around a lot of crap!

The practice of self-compassion for myself and my back injury is so important. I do care about my pain and know that, like it or not, it is a part of my life and I’ve developed so many ways of dealing and managing it. I feel the self-compassion piece is crucial at this point and will start practicing this as much as I can. Using visualization of going back to that younger version of myself, hugging her, wrapping a warm blanket around her shoulders and just saying “you’ve got this” makes this all so much more achievable. That it is understandable why she began drinking around that age to help deal with the losses, the fears, the pain and loneliness. But that she has made it through and is now striving to become the best person she can be and that it is NEVER too late!

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